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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index N > Emmy Noether Quotes

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Emmy Noether
(23 Mar 1882 - 14 Apr 1935)

German mathematician best known for her contributions to abstract algebra, in particular, her study of chain conditions on ideals of rings.

Science Quotes by Emmy Noether (2 quotes)

If one proves the equality of two numbers a and b by showing first that “a is less than or equal to b” and then “a is greater than or equal to b”, it is unfair, one should instead show that they are really equal by disclosing the inner ground for their equality.
— Emmy Noether
As quoted, without citation, in biography by Hermann Wehl, Emmy Noether (1935), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Equality (21)  |  Ground (90)  |  Inner (39)  |  Proof (243)  |  Showing (6)  |  Unfair (8)

My [algebraic] methods are really methods of working and thinking; this is why they have crept in everywhere anonymously.
— Emmy Noether
Letter to H. Hasse (1931). As quoted in Israel Kleiner, A History of Abstract Algebra (2007), 100. The author used the quote to remark on Noether’s widespread influence, either directly or indirectly, for the introduction of algebra (her specialty) or its terminology into a variety of mathematical fields in the twentieth century.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (92)  |  Method (230)  |  Thinking (231)  |  Working (20)

Quotes by others about Emmy Noether (5)

In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fraulein Noether was the most significant mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.
In letter (1 May 1935), Letters to the Editor, 'The Late Emmy Noether: Professor Einstein Writes in Appreciation of a Fellow-Mathematician', New York Times (4 May 1935), 12.

Meine Herren, der Senat ist doch keine Badeanstalt.
The faculty is not a pool changing room.
Indignant reply to the blatent sex discrimination expressed in a colleague’s opposition when Hilbert proposed appointing Emmy Noether as the first woman professor at their university.
Quoted in A L Mackay, Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (1994).
Science quotes on:  |  Discrimination (5)

Meine Herren, I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as a Privatdozent. After all, the Senate is not a bathhouse.
Objecting to sex discrimination being the reason for rejection of Emmy Noether's application to join the faculty at the University of Gottingen.
Quoted in C. Reid Hilbert: With an appreciation of Hilbert's Mathematical Work by Hermann Weyl (1970), 143.

The efforts of most human-beings are consumed in the struggle for their daily bread, but most of those who are, either through fortune or some special gift, relieved of this struggle are largely absorbed in further improving their worldly lot. Beneath the effort directed toward the accumulation of worldly goods lies all too frequently the illusion that this is the most substantial and desirable end to be achieved; but there is, fortunately, a minority composed of those who recognize early in their lives that the most beautiful and satisfying experiences open to humankind are not derived from the outside, but are bound up with the development of the individual's own feeling, thinking and acting. The genuine artists, investigators and thinkers have always been persons of this kind. However inconspicuously the life of these individuals runs its course, none the less the fruits of their endeavors are the most valuable contributions which one generation can make to its successors.
In letter (1 May 1935), Letters to the Editor, 'The Late Emmy Noether: Professor Einstein Writes in Appreciation of a Fellow-Mathematician', New York Times (4 May 1935), 12.
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I can testify that she [Emmy Noether] is a great mathematician, but that she is a woman, I cannot swear.
As recalled by John Edensor Littlewood in his A Mathematician’s Miscellany (1953), reissued as Bιla Bollobαs (ed.), Littlewood’s Miscellany (1986), 125. Littlewood identified this as Landau’s response, when “asked for a testimony to the effect that Emmy Noether was a great woman mathematician.” Littlewood also notes for context, “(She was very plain)”.
Science quotes on:  |  Great (524)  |  Mathematician (364)  |  Swear (4)  |  Testify (5)  |  Woman (111)

See also:
  • 23 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Noether's birth.
  • Emmy Noether, by Auguste Dick. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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